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Jurgen Klopp on why vaccination status will now play a role in transfer plans

He believes that being triple-vaxxed will, by next summer, be more important than whether any potential signing simply takes general, everyday precautions against the virus.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (Nick Potts/PA)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (Nick Potts/PA)

Ken Lawrence

JURGEN KLOPP predicts that the transfer market, just like the whole world, will never be the same again because of Covid.

He believes that being triple-vaxxed will, by next summer, be more important than whether any potential signing simply takes general, everyday precautions against the virus.

Not that Liverpool boss Klopp is going into today’s meeting with Tottenham planning to buy anyone any time soon.

He registered his 150th Premier League win in the midweek 3-1 victory over Newcastle United – faster than any other manager in Anfield history to reach that figure in England’s top flight.

The German has Mo Salah scoring, again, for fun, having equalled Jamie Vardy’s Premier League record of hitting the net or assisting a strike 15 games in a row.

Salah has scored 22 goals already this season and Liverpool are bidding for a ninth successive triumph in all competitions.

They have scored 32 games in a row. The machine is number-crunching for fun and there is no need for him to add another one to his squad right now at least.

But come the end of the season, and in the forward planning that goes with bringing in new players, there will be the need to be sure a player is safe to sign – in more ways than one.

It will not just be about assessing someone’s character and going into his background, as all major clubs planning on spending several millions now do.

It will also be about how many jabs, if any, they have had, Klopp stressing that proof of vaccination will be a given requirement, saying: “It will be influential, definitely.

“Why? In a situation like this, let’s take our situation, if a player is not vaccinated at all, he is a constant threat for all of us.

“He doesn’t want to be a threat, of course, it is not that he thinks 'Oh my God, I don’t care about the others', but he is and we have to find different scenarios.

“He has to change in a different dressing room, he has to eat in a different dining room, he has to sit in a different bus.

“He has to drive in a different car and from an organisational point of view, it gets really messy.

“If you really want to follow the protocols, it is incredibly difficult to do. If one gets Covid and he was in the last four days around him, he will be in isolation.

“If we have to travel to a country to play international football and we come back, he has to get self-isolated, all these kind of things. Of course it is going to be influential.

“We have to do all these kind of things, like building extra buildings for unvaccinated players and it will not happen.

“Hopefully it will not be necessary in the future. But for now, that’s it.”

There is also, for Klopp, the concern that his players, despite all of them being double-jabbed and awaiting their boosters, will not be safe outside of the already-unstable environment of the Premier League.

Klopp’s side will face Shrewsbury in the FA Cup third round on January 9 and failure to progress would be one of the sensations of this and any other season.

Yet the fourth round could see them at a small, lower-league ground playing against a club without the financial clout to maintain a Covid-safe environment. Last season there was an EFL Cup trip to Lincoln City but that was during the lockdown.

While the Omicron variant now threatens another mass closure, Klopp shudders at the thought of taking his players into danger.

He says: “We had that last year already, we had away games. I don’t know 100%, but I don’t think a lot of things changed since then.

“We go there, change in really small dressing rooms, all these kinds of things – that was the situation last year. It’s just not 100% thought through.

“Now we play at home so that’s fine, we play outside so that’s fine as well, it’s just all these different things.

“We have to constantly think about other things besides football and that’s pretty special because we have enough football already to think about.

“We play a Football League team at home but others play away and I’m not sure how it’s sorted.

“If we sort the problem for Liverpool, the problem is still not sorted because it’s still out there.

“We have to sort the general problem and that’s why I mentioned it’s not only about stopping the league or continuing like usual, there are things in between that we have to sort.”

Klopp will hope after last season’s injury-frazzled collapse, which began a year ago after a 7-0 win at Crystal Palace, his team are now sorted for a surge towards a second title in three seasons.

“Anything can happen in life, yes. That is how it is. Injuries can hurt us again, but that is not new.

“Corona is just a problem on top of that. It is a tough league and if you don’t have your players available you will struggle.

“Everybody will struggle. So let’s hope that this time we will have all our players available. Then we will see…"

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